Program assists first-time homebuyers

Program assists first-time homebuyers Hundreds of low-income families living in South Dakota can now realize the dream of homeownership because of $448,142 in American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI) funding announced June 4 by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson.

"The single greatest obstacle to homeownership is the downpayment and closing costs," said Jackson. "This program will give first-time home-

buyers downpayment assistance grants up to $10,000 or six percent of the home's purchase price, whichever is greater. Not only will these grants help to defray the upfront costs of purchasing a first home, they can also be used to help offset the costs of rehabilitating the property."

To be eligible for this assistance, individuals must be first-time homebuyers interested in purchasing one- to four-family housing, condominium unit, cooperative unit or manufactured housing. In addition, individuals who qualify for this assistance must have incomes not exceeding 80 percent of area median income.

Jackson said, "During the Bush Administration, a record number of new homeowners, specifically minority families, have achieved a home of their own. I encourage Congress to fully support the President's request to continue this important new homeownership tool so even more South Dakota families can realize their American Dream."

The American Dream Downpayment Act will be administered under HUD's HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) by the South Dakota Housing Development Authority. Since its inception, the HOME Program has assisted more than 300,000 families nationwide to become homeowners, 55 percent of which are minorities. Information about The American Dream Downpayment Initiative is available on the Internet.

June is National Homeownership month � a month-long educational outreach effort designed to provide important homebuying information and financial tools, particularly to minority families. The Census reports that, for the first time in our nation's history, more than half of minority families own their own home. But minority homeownership rates still fall well short of the national homeownership rate of nearly 70 percent.

In June 2002, President Bush issued The Homeownership Challenge to close the "homeownership gap" by adding 5.5 million minority homeowners by the end of the decade. Since then, more than two dozen organizations are working to create more than $1 trillion in mortgage financing for minority homebuyers.

HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.

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